[This is the third in a series of dispatches from our correspondents located around the world. These short updates provide succinct summaries on developments of the Far-Right and relevant intelligence activities. In this first Athens Dispatch, Andrew Lee reports on the trial of Golden Dawn, the Greek neo-Nazi political party.—Editors]
With the dramatic rise of extreme Rightist, Fascist, and neo-Nazi parties and movements in Europe, attention is now focusing on the last stages of a profoundly important trial in Greece.
In Athens on September 18, 2013 Pavlos Fyssas, an antifascist rapper, was murdered by Giorgios Roupakias, a member of a gang from the Greek neo-Nazi political party Golden Dawn. After the murder, sixty-four members of Golden Dawn were arrested including its MPs and high ranking members. The then Prime Minister Antonis Samaras stated that he will stop “the descendants of the Nazis from poisoning our social life, to act criminally, to terrorize and to undermine the foundations of the country which gave birth to democracy”.
An openly neo-Nazi party that managed to gather 400,000 votes and a staggering 8% of the votes in the parliamentary elections of 2012 in Greece, Golden Dawn is by far one of the most, if not the most, successful parties with a neo-Nazi ideology in post-war Europe. Golden Dawn members have been represented in the European Parliament and have participated in meetings of fascists and neo-Nazis across Europe including the March 2015 St. Petersburg International Conservative Forum.
In order to understand the trial it is important to understand the procedures of the Greek judicial system. Under the Greek system especially important and sensitive trials do not have a normal jury of ordinary citizens; rather, the Supreme Court appoints a “jury” made up of judges and also appoints a judge as prosecutor. The Golden Dawn prosecution is considered a very important case and, in accordance with Greek law, the Judge Adamantia Oikonomou was appointed as Chief Prosecutor by the state and six Supreme Court judges were chosen as jurors. Together they form the Judiciary Corps under the Chief Prosecutor. The final decision on guilt or innocence of the charges will be taken by the Judiciary Corps. Nevertheless, the instructions giving the direction to the rest of the Corps falls to the Chief Prosecutor.
The Supreme Court decided that the Prosecution should charge Golden Dawn as a criminal organization and to include in the charges the totality of the leadership of the party, including all of the MP’s who had served in the Greek Parliament since 2012. This initiated a process that hasn’t been resolved in the past four years, constituting the longest trial in Greece’s recent history.
In total 64 members of Golden Dawn are being prosecuted for more than 34 criminal actions regarding homicides and assassination attempts, disturbing the peace, planning and directing a criminal organization and also inciting violence. This list includes acts of arson and the 2013 murders of Pavlos Fyssas and Shehzad Luqman, a 27 year old worker from Afghanistan. The leadership of Golden Dawn also committed crimes against shipping industry trade unionists of PAME; they were attacked by a ‘’storm battalion’’ of the Golden Dawn in the Athenian port of Piraeus on August 8, 2013 where several unionists were severely injured.
There is an 1109-page case brief regarding the illegal activities of the Golden Dawn Party since 2008. However, the trial, ongoing since 2015, has not yet yielded any clear results. During the trial, the accused leadership, including ‘’Fuhrer’’ Nikos Michaloliakos and his second in command, Christos Pappas, accused other high ranking members and MPs of betrayal while the abstention of the defense lawyers stalled the procedure. In other words the lawyers of the defense were not present during the process and therefore the trials stalled.
Beginning of a Golden Dawn Cover-Up?
As Greece shifts to the Right there is increasing concern that the prosecution is backing away from its initial comprehensive challenge to the Golden Dawn neo-Nazis.
On October 24, 2016, new U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt arrived, having previously served as Ambassador to Ukraine, where, from July 30, 2013 to August 18, 2016 he oversaw the neo-Nazi-led violent coup in Ukraine. Like those in Greece, the Ukrainian neo-Nazis were the direct “descendants” of WWII Nazi collaborators Stephan Bandera and Jaroslav Stetsko. The violent neo-Nazis in Kiev’s Maidan Square, carrying portraits of Bandera and Stetsko, were fed cookies and encouragement by Pyatt and then-U.S. Undersecretary of State Victoria Nuland—all of whom represented a political network which the U.S. secret services had nurtured since the end of WWII.
In Greece, Pyatt oversaw the fall of the Tsipras government and the July 8, 2019 emergence of the openly pro-American government of Kyriakos Mitsotakis. Mitsotakis promptly appointed Panayiotis Kontoleon a former security officer of the U.S. embassy in Athens, whose father had also worked in the US Embassy, as head of the Greek Intelligence Services (EYP). Panayiotis Kontoleon was an official of the British-based global security company G4S which had provided security for Pyatt’s U.S. Embassy in Athens, as well as other U.S. embassies around the world.
The Role of Chief Prosecutor Adamantia Oikonomou in the Cover-Up
In a shocking turn-around, Chief Prosecutor Oikonomou has ignored the testimony of most of the witnesses and argued to absolve the leadership of Golden Dawn from the accusations. It is important to note that most of the witnesses condemned the Golden Dawn perpetrators and the Party.
In December 2019, in her final statement after the prosecution’s witnesses had testified against the totality of the party as a criminal organization, she insisted that there was no serious basis for the allegations against Golden Dawn as a criminal organization. She claimed that those crimes were isolated cases perpetrated by individuals who happened to belong to the Party.
First, she validated the testimony of Roupakias, murderer of Pavlos Fyssas on September 18, 2013, stating that he did not have any contact with his superiors prior to the assassination. However in fact, immediately after the murder, he had contacted his superior G. Patelis, who in his turn had contacted Golden Dawn MP Ioannis Lagos. It turns out Lagos had actually accompanied the Golden Dawn attackers during the assault on the PAME unionists in Piraeus. At the time of the murder, Roupakias was accompanied by a ‘’storm battalion’’ of more than 30 members of Golden Dawn armed with clubs and knives according to the police officers who testified at the trial.
Her second conclusion was that the appearance of Roupakias at the site of the assassination was clearly coincidental. In reality, Roupakias was accompanied by a convoy of motorbikes. As he seemed to know where he was heading, it was clear that his superiors had informed him of the location of Fyssas.
It is worth noting that, in 2013, the ability of Golden Dawn to commit such terrible actions was facilitated by the state’s indifference during a period of destabilization due to the massive anti-austerity movement that was sweeping the country.
Her third conclusion was to acquit Golden Dawn’s leadership stating that, in spite of witness testimony, the storm battalion which attacked Pavlos Fyssas was not armed with clubs and knives.
In her fourth conclusion, she tried to absolve the fascists by claiming that this was a personal vendetta between Pavlos Fyssas and members of Golden Dawn. In reality, in the manifesto of Golden Dawn, anti-fascists and communists, along with immigrants, are identified as the number one enemy of the Party.
Also, in the Chief Prosecutor’s conclusions, there was no mention of the orders sent from the central seat of Golden Dawn to S. Develekos (Nikos Michaloliakos´s security officer and a member of Golden Dawn) to deny any actions that connected the leadership of the Party to assassin Roupakias.
In conclusion, the Chief Prosecutor insisted it was essential to prove the existence of a direct order from Nikos Michaloliakos or the other accused MPs for the assassination of Pavlos Fyssas or Sahzad Luqman, distorting the actual charge of directing a criminal organization, not directing specific crimes.
The final decision is expected within a month or two and will be made by the Judiciary Corps over which Adamantia Oikonomou presides.
Historically, Greece has had a complex history regarding the credibility of its judicial system, which has always been under the influence of the governments and their political planning. This is due to the complicated post-war history of the country, where the tribunals directly obeyed the government and the Prime Ministers.
It is no coincidence that the President of the Hellenic Council of State, who presides over the Supreme Administrative Court of Greece, is Athanasios Roumpos. Currently, Mr. Roumpos is the superior of Chief Prosecutor Oikonomou. He is a very conservative judge, who, in 2002, dismissed a case regarding reparations as a result of Nazi crimes committed during WWII.
During the past century the British, and then the American, financial, and intelligence networks have continuously worked in the shadows against the strong Greek anti-dictatorial and anti-NATO movement which was very prevalent among the rising middle and working classes.
After WWII, with the Truman doctrine and CIA interference in the Greek civil war, these shadowy forces intervened in policy planning and the judiciary by acquitting WWII criminals and former Nazi-collaborators. Indeed, the ‘’Fuhrer’’ of Golden Dawn, Nikos Michaloliakos, is now being accused by other prominent fascists of having maintained relationships with the CIA, although such allegations have never been proved. 
We will soon find out whether Golden Dawn will be buried in the dustbin of history. On the other hand, it might be preserved and resurrected under its old form or reconstituted with a new façade.
 “Sadness and Rage for the Murder of Pavlos Fyssas (Θλίψη και οργή για τη δολοφονία του Παύλου Φύσσα)”. Euronews. September 19, 2013. https://gr.euronews.com/2013/09/19/people-pay-their-respects-to-stabbing-victim-in-athens-suburb
 PAME or All Workers militant Front, aligned to the Communist Party of Greece or KKE
 Τερζής Δημήτρης, ‘’To apisteyto fiasco tis kyvernisis me ton dioikiti tie EYP’’, 8-10-19, retrieved February 20, 2020, https://www.efsyn.gr/politiki/kybernisi/206851_apisteyto-fiasko-tis-kybernisis-me-ton-dioikiti-tis-eyp
 Tessi Giwta, ‘’Ti xehase I eisaggeleas gia ti dolofonia toy Pavloy Fyssa’’, retrieved February 14, 2020, https://www.efsyn.gr/ellada/dikaiosyni/i-diki-tis-hrysis-aygis/224949_ti-xehase-i-eisaggeleas-gia-ti-dolofonia-toy
 Psarras, Dimitris, ‘’Pleyris, i CIA eleghi tis akrodeksies organoseis.’’ Retrieved February 15, 2020, https://www.efsyn.gr/politiki/57007_pleyris-i-cia-eleghei-tis-akrodexies-organoseis
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About the Author
Andrew Lee is an independent researcher and historian who studies the far-right parties in Greece and the wider region of the Balkans.